Category Archives: Chapter Book

Ms. Bixby’s Last Day + Interview with John David Anderson

Ms. Bixby’s Last Day + Interview with John David Anderson

Ms. Bixby's Last Day

I followed the rules a lot in school, so I get it when Brand, Steve and Topher are sweating it out faking voices on the phone to skip a day of school. But I like to think I would have done it too for my favorite teachers: Miss Sellers, Mr. Yoder, Mrs. Hayworth & Mrs. Robbins.

The boys are on a mission for their favorite, Ms. Bixby, who has had to cut the school year short because of an illness. The class knows she is going to have to leave, but it turns out she has to leave so fast, no one gets a chance to say a proper goodbye, and that doesn’t sit well with the boys.

They devise a plan to:

  • Jailbreak themselves from school
  • Make their way across town to where they think they can find Ms. Bixby
  • Collect gifts along the way they have determined will have meaning for Ms. Bixby…because these things have meaning for THEM.

What they don’t count on…is having to jailbreak Ms. Bixby too! Sometimes, breaking the rules is the only way to set things right again when life isn’t working out the way you want it to, especially when you do it for a friend, even when that friend is a teacher.

A great book about the kind of teacher we all want to get – I hope you all get your own Ms. Bixby this year.

Favorite Quote: Topher:  “If I’m going, I’m taking the rest of you with me.” I would have said that about my friends in Middle School too…I hope you make the kind of friends this year that will make you want to say it too.


Some Favorite Teacher Thoughts from John David Anderson:

indyPL Kids: I think there were two things I liked about my favorite teachers: they listened, no matter who was talking, they told the truth, even when it was hard, and they had a sense of humor. What was your favorite thing(s) about your favorite teacher(s)?John David Anderson 250

John David Anderson: Sense of humor was a must, certainly! I also remember the teachers who had a passion for their subject. A science teacher who could go on and on about carbon atoms with religious fervor. A literature professor who nearly cried when he talked about his favorite books. I think energy and enthusiasm are contagious. I’ve had teachers who have gotten me interested in everything from probability to the 2nd Punic War. I also like teachers who give out candy.

indyPL Kids: Does Miss Bixby have some of these traits that you remember?

John David Anderson: I think Ms. Bixby certainly has passion and compassion in equal measure. But I think it’s the truth-telling part you mentioned that makes her stand out in my mind. She’ll hit you with the hard reality, but then she’ll talk you through it and hug you afterward. Plus she can juggle.

indyPL Kids: My favorite book teachers are Miss Frizzle, Miss Nelson/Viola Swamp, Mr. Ratburn, Mrs. Twinkle, Mr. Slinger, Mr. Scary and Mrs. Olinski. And now Ms. Bixby! Do you have any favorite teachers from books?

John David Anderson: Mrs. Olinksi, yes! Also Mrs. Edmunds from Bridge to Terabithia. Severus Snape–you didn’t say they had to be good teachers, just favorites. And Yoda.


Favorite Teachers in Chapter Books:

Bridge to Terabithia Mrs. Edmunds in Bridge to Terabithia – The life of a ten-year-old boy in rural Virginia expands when he becomes friends with a newcomer who subsequently meets an untimely death trying to reach their hideaway, Terabithia, during a storm.
Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince Professor Snape in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince – In the series, Professor Snape usually teaches Potions at Hogwarts school. In the sixth book, he teaches Defence Against the Dark Arts, a position he is known to have wanted for a lot of the series. Professor Snape appears throughout, but the sixth and seventh books really reveal his true nature.
The Art of Miss Chew Miss Chew in The Art of Miss Chew – Describes how a teacher named Miss Chew encouraged individuality, and accepted learning differences, and helped a young student with academic difficulties get extra time to take tests and permission to be in advanced art classes. Inspired by the author’s memories of her art teacher.
The Year of Miss Agnes Miss Agnes in The Year of Miss Agnes – Miss Agnes in The Year of Miss Agnes  Ten-year-old Fred (short for Frederika) narrates the story of school and village life among the Athapascans in Alaska during 1948 when Miss Agnes arrived as the new teacher.
The Secret School Miss Bidson in The Secret School – In 1925, fourteen-year-old Ida Bidson secretly takes over as the teacher when the one-room schoolhouse in her remote Colorado area closes unexpectedly.
Ida B Ms. Washington in Ida B.  … And Her Plans to Maximize Fun, Avoid Disaster and Possibly Save the World – In Wisconsin, fourth-grader Ida B spends happy hours being home-schooled and playing in her family’s apple orchard, until her mother begins treatment for breast cancer and her parents must sell part of the orchard and send her to public school.
Sideways Stories from Wayside School Mrs. Jewls in Sideways Stories from Wayside School – Wayside School is thirty stories high, one classroom on top of another. Maybe that’s why all kinds of funny things happen at Wayside – especially on the thirteenth floor.
Flying Solo All the Kids in Flying Solo – When the substitute for a sixth-grade class never shows up, the students set out to prove that they can run the class by themselves.
Wonder Mr. Browne in Wonder – Ten-year-old Auggie Pullman, who was born with extreme facial abnormalities and was not expected to survive, goes from being home-schooled to entering fifth grade at a private middle school in Manhattan, which entails enduring the taunting and fear of his classmates as he struggles to be seen as just another student.
Minnie McClary Speaks Her Mind Miss Marks in Minnie McClary Speaks Her Mind – When quiet sixth-grader Minnie gets a new language arts teacher who makes her think and ask hard questions, she is inspired to stand up for what she believes in.
Because of Mr. Terupt Mr. Terupt in Because of Mr. Terupt – Seven fifth-graders at Snow Hill School in Connecticut relate how their lives are changed for the better by “rookie teacher” Mr. Terupt.
Love That Dog Miss Stretchberry in Love that Dog – A young student, who comes to love poetry through a personal understanding of what different famous poems mean to him, surprises himself by writing his own inspired poem.
Anne of Avonlea Miss Shirley in Anne of Avonlea – In this sequel to Anne of Green Gables, teenaged Anne Shirley becomes a schoolteacher in a small village on Prince Edward Island.
The View From Saturday Mrs. Olinski in The View from Saturday – Four students, with their own individual stories, develop a special bond and attract the attention of their teacher, a paraplegic, who chooses them to represent their sixth-grade class in the Academic Bowl competition.
The Wednesday Wars Mrs. Baker in The Wednesday Wars – During the 1967 school year, on Wednesday afternoons when all his classmates go to either Catechism or Hebrew school, seventh-grader Holling Hoodhood stays in Mrs. Baker’s classroom where they read the plays of William Shakespeare and Holling learns much of value about the world he lives in.
Frindle Miss Granger in Frindle – When he decides to turn his fifth grade teacher’s love of the dictionary around on her, clever Nick Allen invents a new word and begins a chain of events that quickly moves beyond his control.
Armando and the Blue Tarp School Seor David in Armando and the Blue Tarp School – Armando and his father are trash-pickers in Tijuana, Mexico, but when Señor David brings his “school”–a blue tarp set down near the garbage dump–to their neighborhood, Armando’s father decides that he must attend classes and learn. Based on a true story.

Favorite Teachers in Picture Books:

The Art Lesson Mrs. Brown in The Art Lesson – Tommy knows he wants to be an artist when he grows up. He can’t wait to get to school and have real art lessons. When Tommy gets to school and finds out that the art lessons are full of “rules”, he is surprised and dismayed. How the wise art teacher finds a way to give Tommy the freedom to create and stay within the “rules” makes a wonderfully perceptive picture book about growing up and keeping one’s individuality.
Arthurs Teacher Trouble Mr. Ratburn in Arthur’s Teacher Trouble – On the first day of school Arthur discovers he’s got the toughest teacher in the third grade! The pressure is on to study hard for the all-school Spellathon. Can Arthur beat last year’s champion speller? Or will he let Mr. Ratburn d-o-w-n.
Chrysanthemum Mrs. Delphinium Twinkle in Chrysanthemum – Chrysanthemum thinks her name is absolutely perfect–until her first day of school. “You’re named after a flower!” teases Victoria. “Let’s smell her,” says Jo. Chrysanthemum wilts. What will it take to make her blossom again?
The Dot The Art Teacher in The Dot – Vashti believes that she cannot draw, but her art teacher’s encouragement leads her to change her mind.
The Handkerchief Quilt Miss Anderson in The Handkerchief Quilt – When a disastrous flood damages Parkland School, forcing it to close for lengthy repairs, Miss Anderson, an elementary teacher, devises a way to raise money to help buy replacement books.
Lillys Purple Plastic Purse Mr. Slinger in Lily’s Purple Plastic Purse – Lilly loves everything about school, especially her teacher, but when he asks her to wait a while before showing her new purse, she does something for which she is very sorry later.
The Magic School Bus and the Electric Field Trip Miss Frizzle in The Magic School Bus and the Electric Field Trip – Ms. Frizzle takes her class on a field trip through the town’s electrical wires so they can learn how electricity is generated and how it is used.
Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten Miss Bindergarten in Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten – Introduces the letters of the alphabet as Miss Bindergarten and her students get ready for kindergarten. More Miss Bindergarten Books
Miss Foxs Class Shapes Up Miss Fox in Miss Fox’s Class Shapes Up – When Miss Fox realizes that her students do not have healthy habits, she teaches them that healthful living is fun and rewarding, which they find to be true on Field Day. More Miss Fox Books
Miss Malarkey Leaves No Reader Behind Miss Malarkey in Miss Malarkey Leaves No Reader Behind – Miss Malarkey vows to find each of her students a book to love by the end of the school year, but one video-game loving boy proves to be a challenge. More Miss Malarkey Books
Miss Mingo and the First Day of School Miss Mingo in Miss Mingo and the First Day of School – Miss Mingo helps all of the animal students in her class overcome their shyness on the first day of school by encouraging them to share something special about themselves. Includes facts about animals. Young Hoosier Book Award, 2011-2012, K-3 Nominee. More Miss Mingo Books
Miss Nelson is Missing Miss Nelson in Miss Nelson is Missing – The kids in Room 207 take advantage of their teacher’s good nature until she disappears and they are faced with a vile substitute. More Miss Nelson Books
My Kindergarten Miss Cribbage in My Kindergarten – Through a month-by-month review of a year in kindergarten, Emily shares the stories of the many happy experiences she has at her school with her new classmates, including first day introductions, a review of the changing seasons, learning how to read a map, and taking a special field trip to the local library.
My Teacher The Teacher in My Teacher – A student wonders why her teacher has chosen to teach in her school for so long, and highlights all the special things her teacher does for her class.
My Teacher is a Monster Mr. Kirby in My Teacher Is a Monster – Bobby thinks his teacher, Ms. Kirby, is horrible, but when he sees her outside of school and they spend a day in the park together, he discovers she might not be so bad after all.
Olivia and the Best Teacher Ever Mrs. Hoggenmuller in Olivia and the Best Teacher Ever – Mrs. Hoggenmuller is being considered for teacher of the year, and Olivia goes all out to see that the class performs its best. Will her favorite teacher get the award?
You Are My Wonders The Teacher in You Are My Wonders – Illustrations and rhyming text combine in a celebration of the relationship between teacher and student.
Substitute Creature Mr. Creacher in Substitute Creature – Mr. Creacher, a multi-tentacled substitute teacher, warns his prankish students not to misbehave, recounting rhyming cautionary tales of the weird, spooky, and unexpected.
Teach Us Amelia Bedelia Amelia Bedelia in Teach Us, Amelia Bedelia – The very literal-minded Amelia Bedelia is up to her ears in trouble when she becomes a substitute teacher for a day, and her confused antics include handing out lightbulbs to the children when she is told to “plant bulbs.”
Thank You Mr Falker Mr. Falker in Thank you, Mr. Falker – At first, Trisha loves school, but her difficulty learning to read makes her feel dumb, until, in the fifth grade, a new teacher helps her understand and overcome her problem.
Dotty Ms. Raymond in Dotty – Ida’s imaginary friend, Dotty, is tied to her with a blue string and when Ida’s classmates tease her aboutDotty, Ida is surprised to discover that her teacher carries a red string with her wherever she goes.
Yoko Mrs. Jenkins in Yoko – When Yoko brings sushi to school for lunch, her classmates make fun of what she eats–until one of them tries it for himself.
Miss Brooks Loves Books Miss Brooks in Miss Brooks Loves Books (and I Don’t) – A first-grade girl who does not like to read stubbornly resists her school librarian’s efforts to convince her to love books until she finds one that might change her mind.
Print This Post Print This Post

Dear Dumb Diary: Me! (Just Like You, Only Better)

Dear Dumb Diary: Me! (Just Like You, Only Better)

Me! Just Like You Only Better

Jamie is still sure that she’s got life figured out – but if she does, how does she get herself mixed up in such crazy situations? This time it’s her birthday and she’s determined that there will NOT be a repeat of last year when her parents gave her a pogo stick instead of the cute puppy she wanted. That pogo stick DID turn into a puppy…that she describes as a “lumpy, toadish bucket of unpleasantness we know as Stink.” Long story. (In fact, it’s one of Jamie’s other adventures – see list below!) Anyway, Jamie has an all-time favorite band and doesn’t like people copying this like…so she pretends to like a different band to throw them off…which turns into a big Jamie-style mess at her birthday party. More fun from that crazy Jamie and her dumb diary. Author: Jim Benton

Dear Dumb Diary Series:

#1 Let’s Pretend This Never Happened
#2 My Pants are Haunted (When Bad Clothes Happen to Good People)
#3 Am I the Princess or the Frog
#4 Never Do Anything, Ever
#5 Can Adults Become Human?
#6 The Problem with Here is That it’s Where I’m From
#7 Never Underestimate Your Dumbness
#8 It’s Not My Fault I Know Everything
#9 That’s What Friends Aren’t For
#10 The Worst Things in Life are Also Free
#11: Okay, So Maybe I Do Have Superpowers
#12: Me! (Just Like You, Only Better)

Dear Dumb Diary Year Two Series:

#1 School Hasn’t This Gone on Long Enough?
#2 The Super Nice are Super Annoying
#3 Nobody’s Perfect I’m as Close as it Gets
#4 What I Don’t Know Might Hurt Me
#5 You Can Bet on That
#6 Live Each Day to the Dumbest

Print This Post Print This Post

Staff Pick: D’Aulaires’ Book of Norse Myths

Staff Pick: D’Aulaires’ Book of Norse Myths

D'Aulaires' book of Norse myths

A collection of Norse myths describing the exploits of the Aesir gods and goddesses, beginning with the creation of the world and ending with the day of reckoning.

“Marvel’s Avengers comics have been around since the 1960s, but in the past few years their popularity has skyrocketed. Everyone I meet has heard of Captain America, Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Black Widow, Hawkeye, and my favorite character Thor. Thor is from Asgard, a world based on the Norse mythology of my ancestors. D’Aulaires’ Book of Norse Myths is a beautifully illustrated version of these epic stories. All the names you’ll recognize are there; Odin, Frigga, Thor, Heimdall, Loki, Sif, and many more you’ll meet for the first time. These are the stories from which Stan Lee took his inspiration. I promise there is nothing quite like reading the originals.”

Recommended by: Emilie Lynn – East 38th Street Branch Library

Print This Post Print This Post

The Dungeoneers

The Dungeoneers

The Dungeoneers

Colm Candorly has eight sisters. Eight’s a bunch of anything, but that’s a whole lot of sisters! They call him cutesy names and steal his underwear and giggle all the time. Colm copes by hiding when he can using superior stealth skills and by teasing them mercilessly, like stealing their brushes and hair pins.

Colm’s dad has it worse – he has to feed and clothe them all. But Colm’s parents make do and are happy doing it, until Colm’s sister Seysha gets sick and their  meager stack of coins isn’t enough to pay for food as well as a doctor. Colm might get annoyed at his sisters, but he can’t stand the thought of any of them suffering. He turns his stealthy brother skills to shady but necessary use heading to the Village Square and “acquiring” a rich man’s purse with his nimble fingers. Colm justifies his actions like Robin Hood would – stealing from the rich to give to the poor. When Colm’s father sees the money he doesn’t see it that way at all and is determined to have Colm confess to the Village Magistrate and return the money. Colm’s father wants him to confess, hoping to save Colm from a more severe punishment – like the removal of his thieving hand!

At just the right moment, in steps Finn Argos, a mystery man who observed Colm’s pickpocket skills in the Village Square and has an idea for how best to use them. Mr. Argos is a teacher; a mentor, looking for an apprentice. He thinks Colm is perfect for the job. Stealthy. Quick. Nimble Fingers. What does Mr. Argos teach? “The Aquisition of Resources.”  In other words, “Thievery.” Finn Argos recruits talent for a guild lead by one Tye Thwoden. The  guild practices dungeoneering, a kind of treasure hunting that pits teams of raiders against the trolls, goblins, and other assorted monsters that guard treasure hidden in dungeons – treasure protected further by sinister booby traps, diabolical wizardry and complex locks. Finn agrees to pay off Colm’s debts in exchange for Colm’s talents – Finn wants Colm to come live at the guild and learn to be part of a dungeoneer team, because all good teams need a crack lockpick wiht nimble pickpocket fingers.

Colm takes Finn up on his offer. Arriving at the guild, Colm is put on a team specifically chosen to work together. Colm’s role is to be the Rogue, picking locks & outsmarting traps. His teammates are:

  • Lena, a warrior girl (who can’t stand the sight of her own blood)
  • Quinn, a stuttering wizard (who has major confidence issues)
  • Serene, a druid who can talk to animals (who is too afraid to talk to animals with teeth)

The four of them, with their talents and fears, become a team in Thwoden’s Legion.

Friends. Adventure. Challenges. Treasure. Glory.

It is as exactly as fun as it sounds.

“Now I’m not sure how a stuttering mage, a swooning barbarian, a timid druid, and a fledgling rogue will play out in the bards’ songs, but I’ve shaped the most brittle iron into a blade so strong it can cut through a behemoth’s hide. So as long as you are members of this guild, we will turn you into dungeoneers, or my name’s not Tye Thwodin.” (page 145)

Websites:

More Books by John David Anderson:

Standard Hero Behavior Sidekicked Minion

 

Print This Post Print This Post

Elizabeth Queen of the Seas

Elizabeth Queen of the Seas

Animals are amazing navigators. Caribou, salmon, sea turtles, whales, monarch butterflies and many other species travel across continents and oceans to find food or have their babies. This is called migration. These animals have some kind of in-born knowledge about where to go as well as WHEN to go. This natural instinct helps them survive.

But there are some individual animals who have done the same thing…but AGAINST their natural instincts. Sometimes an animal returns to its home after being lost for YEARS. Sometimes an animal becomes uncommonly attached to a human. Sometimes two very different species of animals become close friends.

One of these unigue animals is Elizabeth, an elephant seal from Christchurch, New Zealand who lived in the Avon River in a city park. Humans tried to return her to her natural habitat in an elephant seal colony, but each time they tried…she showed up in Christchurch again! Sometimes it even took her several months to swim all the way back to her home in Christchurch. Try this story of one determined animal who insisted on living HER way. Finally, they just let her stay.

Regional fisheries officer with the ministry, RV Reid, told The Press that Elizabeth was free to roam the streets. “Under the Marine Mammals Protection Act 1978, we can’t disturb her at all.” She could go into Cathedral Square and bask in the sunshine for a week and we couldn’t do anything about it.” From Memories of Avon River’s Sea Elephant

So you see, this isn’t just a made up story, Elizabeth the elephant seal…was real. If you look here: Memories of Avon River’s Sea Elephant you can even see pictures of her. The author of this book is Lynne Cox, an American long-distance open-water swimmer. An open-water swimmer swims great distances not in a pool – mostly, Lynne swims in the ocean. Lynne has crossed the English Channel, the cook Strait in New Zealand, the Straits of Magellan in Chile, the Bering Strait in Alaska and many more…she even swam in Antarctica! Lynne heard Elizabeth’s story while she was in New Zealand. Lynne knew a good story when she heard it – animals sometimes have amazing relationships with humans, and with other animals. Take a look at the books below to learn about some other real animals and their amazing friendships.

 

Websites:

Books:

Elephant Seal Elephant Seals City Critters Wild Animal Neighbors

Unique Animal Relationships:

Best Friends Forever The Dog and the Piglet Hachiko How to Clean a Hippopotamus
Lenore Finds a Friend The Leopard and the Cow Lola Goes to Work The Monkey and the Dove
Owen and Mzee Owen and Mzee2 Paisano the Roadrunner Rags Hero Dog of WWI
The Right Dog for the Job A Small Dog's Big Life Stubby the War Dog Suryia and Roscoe
Tarra and Bella Tuesday Tucks Me In The World's Greatest Elephant
Print This Post Print This Post
1 2 3 9